Video game refers to an electronic game played by a human being in a video devise interface to generate feedback that is visual in nature on a screen. There are several interfaces that support video game such as computers and televisions by using game controllers which include gamepads, keyboards, and mobile devises among others. Video games have existed for more than four decades. Many parents believe that video games corrupt mind and are time wasters to their children. Besides, many instances of teenage violence have been blamed on video games that have violent themes, which catalyze anti-social behavior.
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However, some experts opine that video games are actually beneficial in positively modifying the behavior of teenagers. For instance, many psychologists believe that video games are educative to teenagers by improving their thinking and creativity skills. This research paper will establish the effect of video games on teenage behavior, obesity, and social problems. The paper supports argument that video games have negative effects on behavior, obesity, and social problems among teenagers.
Video Games and Teenage Behavior
Video games have several negative effects on behavior of teenagers. For instance, interaction and sense of shared values has lowered the commitment towards academics since addiction to video games takes a lot of the productive time of teenagers. Technological development particularly digitalization has discouraged proactive research and honesty in carrying out assignments as more teenagers prefer rushing their assignments to have time for Video games (Cramer, 2014).
The need of internationalization, and easy visual entertainment accessibility, has seriously influenced the teenagers to belong to the video game culture that has negatively affected their performance. It is apparent that addiction to video games has also been blamed on poor academic performance which translates into strain in family relationships, as the family will develop perception that excessive time is spent on the game platforms than in studies (Norman, 2008).
According to Joinson, McKenna, Postmes, and Reips (2009), “video game addicts argue a lot with their teachers, fight a lot with their friends, and score lower grades than others who play video games less often” (Joinson et al. 2009, p. 54). As a result, the face to face interaction and classroom commitment is greatly affected as the teenagers develop rebellious attitude and loner personality when engaged in interactive learning.
Excess in this area compromises the time that teenagers take consulting and doing assignments. Violence and aggression has also been identified as another negative effect of excessive dependence on video games, especially among teenagers. Since most of the teenagers who spend excessive time playing video games lack social etiquette and negotiation skills, they are easily angered and response may lead to abusive language and physical confrontation (Norman, 2008). Furthermore, these teenagers are often forced to emulate characters and attitudes they obtain from video games rather than seek guidance on the reality from family members.
According to Ryan and Westring (2010), teenagers “who play more violent video games are more likely to have increased aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and decreased pro-social helping” (Ryan & Westring, 2010, p. 23). Specifically, the excessively interactive games such as those which reward players who are very violent and this act are repeated in different stages.
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Therefore, the teenager who is experiencing the visual violence through the kicking, killings, and shooting scenes may develop aggressive behavior over a long period of exposure (Daniels, 2009). Excessive exposure to video games among teenagers may influence them to be socially isolated since more time may be spent in playing the video games than in doing assignments and interacting with everyone in the real world. As a result, a teenager who is addicted to online games may develop a passive social interaction behavior characterized by self centeredness and delinking from the family or friends. This is because most of these games have the potential of confusing the fantasy and reality in the young mind. In the end, the teenager may lose the vital social interaction skills which define how well an individual in able to fit within macro and macro levels of the society.
Video Games and Teenage Obesity
According to the Center for Disease Control (2014), approximately 17 percent of children in the U.S. suffer from obesity. This percentage is very large in other developed countries as well. Moreover, in the future, these people can develop such disorders as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. Since teenagers who are addicted to video games sit for long hours playing each day, they are at a high risk of developing obesity related conditions. Since most parents of obese teenagers do not perceive it as a disease, they do not emphasize on reversing the condition (Ding & Gebel, 2012).
This implies that if the condition is indeed not reversed, this expose the teenagers to experience several impairments in various domains of functioning. This means that teenagers who are addicted to video games and spend several hours on different game platforms are likely to be victims of these impairments (Norman, 2008). Despite the fact that teenage obesity does not have recognized medical symptoms, social and emotional factors have immediate implications on the teenagers’ lives. This is demonstrated in discrimination, stigmatization, and negative stereotyping the obese teenagers are subjected to by other teenagers. In particular, overweight teenagers tend to be bullied or stigmatized in schools, and many of them can encounter various psychological difficulties such as the complex of inferiority or anxiety (Ding & Gebel, 2012).
In the long-term, their social skills can be significantly impaired. In the end, teenagers who are obese as a result of addiction to video games are likely to develop low self esteem and depression due to criticism from peers because of their ‘fatness’.
Video Games and Social Problems
Problem behavior theory is a socio-psychological framework that explains the nature and development of problem behaviors such as violence and immorality, which are symptoms of deviancy castigated by excessive addiction to violent and explicit video games. This theory views problem behavior as purposeful, psychologically meaningful, and a component of individual development (Fleming, 2015).
In other words, person-environment interaction issues cause problem behavior. This theory has been widely applied to risky problem behaviors associated with deviancy among teenagers addicted to violent video games. The primary focus of problem behavior theory is on three systems of psychosocial influence; the personality system, the perceived environment system, and the behavior system (Cramer, 2014).
The variables in the personality system are at the socio-cognitive level and reflect social meanings and developmental experience. These can be values, expectations, beliefs, attitudes, and orientations toward an individual and others. In relation to the social problems, excessive addiction to violent video games has the potential of creating an ideal environment for deviancy among teenagers; since this age is characterized by constant experimentation of everything conceptualized in the visual fantasy in the reality. For instance, a teenager addicted to video games may acquire abusive language that he or she might use when interacting with family members (Fleming, 2015).
This might cause conflict with siblings or parents and lead to avoidable confrontation, which may strain family relationship. Besides, addiction to video games is associated with passive attitude which might result to low grades in school, skipping classes, school dropout, and drug abuse in attempt to cope with situation.
According to Cramer (2014), some of the violent or explicit online video games may teach wrong values to teenagers such as aggression, immorality, and prejudice. For instance, in the violent video games, there is no room for negotiation between players. Besides, the female characters are portrayed as extremely sexually provocative. When the games are played repeatedly over a long period of time, the player may internalize such prejudice and exercise them in the real world. In the video games, it is so easy to kill and main the characters who you hate by simply pressing a button. When a teenager who is addicted to violent video games is under emotional stress as a result of conflict with another party, he or she might be tempted to do what happens in these games as a way of conflict resolution. Besides, teenagers addicted to video games may pick explicit language that is abusive and irresponsible to use when interacting the real world.
Despite the negative effects of video games on teenage behavior, obesity, and social problems, several authors have indicated that video games have positive impact on teenager behavior. Among the notable positive impacts of video games on teenager behavior are improvement of coordination between hand and eye as a spatial skill, improvement of creativity and problem solving skills, and multitasking skills. For instance, interactive and educative video games may help in improving the spatial skills of teenagers since they are expected to be alert and properly coordinate the actions and eyes and hands in solving different puzzles. This means that the educative video games might actually improve the intelligence and analytical skills of the player, especially when regulated and coached (Fleming, 2015).
Since video games require maximum focus and proper coordination, teenagers who play video games have the opportunity for improving their thinking and decision skills since the games give the brain a true workout. This can also be related to teenagers in terms of developing situational awareness as a positive behavior orientation. Among other positive behavior change as a result of playing video games among teenagers include inductive reasoning, proper judgment, memory adjustment, and concentration since the content in video games are designed to present challenges that should be solved by the player (Cramer, 2014). Therefore, it can be argued that teenagers who play video games are less likely to involve themselves in unbecoming habits such as drug abuse, immorality, and alcoholism since it is a perfect distracter.
In summary, there are negative and positive impacts of video games on behavior of teenagers. Among the negative impacts of video games are passive attitude, violence, and poor academic performance among others, especially when the teenager is addicted to violent and explicit video games. Besides, long hours spent playing the video games might increase chances of obesity among teenagers in addition to developing unbecoming social behaviors. Nonetheless, there are positive impacts of regulated and educating video games such as improved concentration, creativity, problem solving skills, and distraction from harmful hobbies. However, the negative impacts outweigh the positive impacts, especially when the video games are unregulated.
Center for Disease Control. (2014). Overweight and obesity. Web.
Cramer, J. (2014). New study: Video games and teens’ behavior. Web.
Daniels, S. (2009). Complications of obesity in children and adolescents. International Journal of Obesity, 4(33), 60-65. Web.
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Ding, D., & Gebel, K. (2012). Built environment, physical activity, and obesity: what have we learned from reviewing the literature? Health & place, 18(1), 100-105. Web.
Fleming, R. (2015). The positive and negative effects of video games. Web.
Joinson, A., McKenna, K., Postmes, T., & Reips, U. (2009). The Oxford handbook of internet psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Web.
Norman, K. (2008). Cyberpsychology: An introduction to human–computer Interaction. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Web.
Ryan, M., & Westring, F. (2010). Personality and inter-role conflict and enrichment: Investigating the mediating role of support. Sage Journals, 63(12), 1815-1834. Web.